It is June, which means it is LGBTQ+ PRIDE month. It is time when we celebrate the progress the LGBTQ+ community has made, take a positive stance against discrimination and violence toward the LGBTQ+ community, commemorate the Stonewall riots and recognize the distance we still have to go to for the LGBTQ+ community to achieve full equality.
One of the goals of YPOS is to foster a sense of community and a sense of belonging in the city of the rumored “Seattle Freeze.” All people no matter their sexual preference, the gender they identify as, race or religious preference, are welcome at all our events. And as part of our commitment and to ensure that our events are inclusive and safe for everyone we have an event code of conduct. Part of that code of conduct is that harassment or discrimination of any kind is prohibited.
Another way we have fostered LGBTQ+ inclusivity is through ProDev. We have teamed with the GSBA to include programming on diversity and inclusion. In addition, we make sure our speakers are diverse and inclusive of LGBTQ+ business owners.
When it comes to YP Impact, bear with me, it is after all my baby. When YP Impact was formed at the end of October and I took the reins as the leader and Program Manager part of my goal was to create an inclusive environment. An environment where people came together to make a difference and saw their similarities rather than their differences. In building the program from the ground up, we have been intentional in all the partnerships we form and the nonprofits we work with. And part of that intention has come from comments and questions from the YPOS LGBTQ+ community.
In my first two weeks with YP Impact, I was asked if the nonprofits we were supporting were LGBTQ+ inclusive by 5 people. I took that as significant and approached the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) about ways I could ensure that the nonprofits we worked with were. As a result of the YPOS LGBTQ+ community speaking up, I am proud to say that all nonprofits we have worked with or will work with in the future are vetted to make sure they are LGBTQ+ inclusive.
YP Impact is also intentional in the venues we choose to host our events in. We are proud to announce that YP Impact (and YPOS where possible due to venue size) will host events at locations listed on Intentionalist, an LGBTQ+ owned online guide to intentional spending that supports small businesses and diverse local communities. They make it easy for you to find local restaurants, bars, gyms, shops, and more owned by women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+, families, and differently abled people. For PRIDE month they have created a Pride Month page to help you discover LGBTQ+-owned small businesses in your community and explore local events (in Seattle). Check it out.
Lastly, to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride this month, YPOS and YP Impact will be joining United Way of King County Emerging Leaders and Friends of Youth at the Pride Parade on June 30th. We will be meeting at the United Way of King County office in downtown Seattle and then heading to the parade where we will hold banners, and hand out flyers and goodies to the crowd. If you are interested in joining, please sign up on the United Way website. We hope to see you there.
And please remember…love is love. And love should be celebrated.